McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Press Releases

MDHHS Promotes New Crisis Hotline

Update: Oct 3-14, 2022

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is promoting Michigan’s new crisis hotline as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The hotline provides 24/7 live one-on-one crisis support for victims and survivors, as well as support people and professionals. The hotline is free and provides local support through trained advocates who are available to call, text, or chat online. All hotline services can be accessed here.

Federal Judge Declares Mistrial in Flint Water Trial

Update: Aug 8-19, 2022

On August 11, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Grand of the Eastern District of Michigan U.S. District Court ruled a mistrial in the Flint Water Civil Trial after the jury shared it was unable to come to an agreement on a verdict in the case. The hung jury stated that continued deliberations would cause stress and anxiety with someone having to surrender their vote for the purpose of having a verdict.

The trial involved four plaintiffs, all of which are children, against defendants of engineering firms Veola North America (VNA) and Lockwood, Andrews, & Newnam (LAN). The plaintiffs lived in Flint during the water contamination crisis and attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that LAN was responsible for 25 percent of the crisis while VNA was responsible for 50 percent, with both companies negligent in giving fault advice to the city. The rest was placed on the state and former state officials. LAN and VAN argued the state and city officials were to blame.

In total, the trial lasted 76 days and had 45 people testify in the case.

Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation

Update: Jul 25-Aug 5, 2022

On Thursday, July 29, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 2 decision that denial of goods, services, etc. on the basis of sexual orientation violates Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA). The majority opinion was written by Republican-nominated Justice Elizabeth Clement. The ruling significantly expands protections for the LGBTQ community as ELCRA has jurisdiction over employers of all sizes and prohibits discrimination beyond employment, in places of public accommodation, such as housing. A lower court ruling separately found the ELCRA to apply to gender identity as well.

While the ruling on Thursday and the lower court ruling were celebrated by those in the LGBTQ community and allies, the protections are not yet enshrined in law – something Democrat lawmakers, such as State Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), hope to change.

It is important to note that the Michigan Supreme Court opinion was silent on whether enforcement of the protections violated constitutional religious liberties. Groups, like the Michigan Catholic Conference, expressed concern that the ruling could pose a threat to religious liberties under the state Constitution. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey also expressed concern regarding possible infringement on “those with firmly held religious beliefs”.